Captain clear on objectives

Matthew Upson will lead West Ham United into tonight's Barclays Premier League match at Portsmouth with nothing but victory in mind.

The club captain said the team were looking forward to getting back on the pitch after a week spent working hard on the training pitch. With the squad already down on the south coast and preparing for the evening encounter, Upson was in determined mood as he looked ahead.

He said: "We are coming here with the focus on getting three points, nothing else and we don't want to settle for anything less than that. We will turn up at Fratton Park with a real positive attitude and will be trying to attack Portsmouth and win the game."

The Hammers have taken heart from a goalless draw from a strong display at Aston Villa in their last outing ten days ago. Upson, who was just edged out for man of the match duties that day by defensive partner James Tomkins, said there was plenty in that game up at Villa Park to build on.

"We performed well up at Villa. I felt we could have scored a goal and were just a little bit away from being more of a threat, but we can definitely take positives all over from that result.

"Villa are a top team at the moment and to come off the pitch with a point away from home against them, was good for us, we had a clean sheet as well. So we come to Portsmouth with a mind to really attack them."

The England defender said the feelgood factor had also been boosted by the arrival of West Ham's new co-owners and chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold, who he played under during his time at Birmingham City.

"The stability this has brought is very good and it is a very positive thing for the football club. We needed some financial help and also we have found people who want to invest and want to do right by the football club which is important. It is good news for everyone.

"In the short term it is the help we needed now but also on a long-term basis, the new owners are looking to do things properly and stabilise the club, build proper foundations and build up slowly.

"I don't think there are ever quick fixes in this game, it's got to be the long haul and they are obviously in this for the long term.

"It is a positive thing that they are supporters of the club as well. It has been a big passion of theirs to own West Ham one day and they have succeeded.

"Whenever a club has been taken over by people who like now, feel this passionately about a football club, you get the sense they are going to do the right thing by the club and the supporters.

"It is very important. They know the club inside out and that is a very positive thing."

Upson said the resilience shown at Villa Park last time out and also in recent displays like the 2-0 home win against tonight's opponents on Boxing Day showed that there was always a good spirit. However, he felt the events of the past week had given an extra impetus to everyone.

"As players you really do have to just focus on the next game and the thinking is as long as we get three points it will be all right - it will help to make things better. That is the top and bottom of it as a player

"You are obviously aware of all the things happening on the outside, but it has gone now. It has now happened and we can stop thinking about it and just concentrate on moving onwards and upwards on the pitch."